NOME, Alaska (AP) — Two Alaska mushers arrived Monday morning at the second-to-last checkpoint of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race: a four-time champion and a competitor seeking to become only the third woman to win the race.
The United States held out the possibility on Monday that the U.S. and Russian foreign ministers could meet this week about Ukraine but said Washington needed to know Moscow would engage seriously on a diplomatic solution. Russia's bloodless seizure of the Crimea region of Ukraine has brought U.S.-Russian relations to one of their lowest points since the Cold War, with the United States searching for a way to keep Russia from annexing Crimea, where it has a naval base. The State Department said Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday Washington wanted Moscow to cease its military advances in Ukraine, stop its drive to annex Crimea and end "provocative steps." "The United States needs to see concrete evidence that Russia is prepared to engage on the diplomatic proposals we have made to facilitate direct dialogue between Ukraine and Russia and to use international mechanisms like a contact group to deescalate the conflict," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a written statement.